KOTA BARU – MCA has criticised PAS for passing laws that allow public caning in Kelantan, claiming that such punishment falls under the purview of Federal laws.
MCA Religious Harmony Bureau chairman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker accused PAS of trying to gain political mileage in the run-up to the next general election by trying to appease the Muslim electorate.
“The Kelantan State Legislative Assembly knows very well that the amendments to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 will not see the light of day because they are illegal, unconstitutional and void.
“(It is) just like the hudud enactment they passed years ago that has not taken effect till today,” he said.
Ti was responding to the amendments passed at the state legislative assembly yesterday, allowing public caning, among others.
Gerakan secretary-general Datuk Liang Teck Meng said the move to mete out punishment in public was contrary to Federal law.
“PAS in Kelantan has to look at the Prisons Act, particularly Clause 132, which states that such punishment is to be carried out in the confines of the prison grounds,” he told The Star yesterday.
Liang added that religion should be set aside and the issue viewed from a legal standing.
DESPERATE BID TO WIN VOTES
DAP’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said the move by PAS was a “desperate bid to win votes” in Kelantan.
“They know they are going to lose in Kelantan in the next election, so they are desperate to show off their so-called Islamic image,” he said.
In Petaling Jaya, Kelantan Women, Family and Welfare committee chairman Mumtaz Md Nawi said public caning, under the amended Bill, was misunderstood by certain people as a cruel punishment.
She said it was not a public caning as imagined but “a caning carried out in an open space” and with a Muslim state medical officer present.
“We will not simply do it in public, such as in a field, as what is being pictured by certain quarters.
“It is clear that the caning must comply with all set requirements,” said Mumtaz, who was at the assembly when the Bill was passed.
She pointed out that the punishment must also be carried out in a gazetted place.
The problem was the perception being created by some people, said Mumtaz, who was responding to criticism by civil groups that were against caning.
They took the state government to task for condoning what they saw as a harsh punishment, saying it could damage the image of Islam if allowed to proceed.
Mumtaz said the definition of “public caning” could differ according to legal or religious interpretation.
“It can be considered a public caning when three people witness the punishment within prison walls,” she said, adding that “some religious scholars consider that public caning”.
“The ultimate goal is to make it a deterrent for those who want to commit crime.”
She said the amendments to the Bill had been approved by the state mufti.